Teaching Students Help Schoolchildren Bring Computing to Life

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A group of teaching students from the University of Worcester have been working with children from a neighbouring primary school to help bring computing to life.

Eight students from the University of Worcester’s Primary Initial Teacher Education (PITE) degree spent two days working with the children from Oldbury Park Primary School. The fun and engaging activities included using Beebot robots and creating Wallace and Gromit style animations, either in the school or in the University’s bespoke Primary Computing suite. Each activity was underpinned by heavyweight computing principles, from programming and algorithms to media production.

Andrea Holloway, Senior Lecturer in Primary Initial Teacher Education at the University of Worcester, said: “This was a great project for us to be involved in because it gave us the opportunity to support one of our local schools whilst providing our students with some invaluable experience. The students were wonderful on the day: professional, competent, and a credit to our university. Most importantly of all, the children themselves had a great time and engaged fully in computer science.”

Millie Mcgarrick, a 3rd year PITE student at the University said: “It was a very enjoyable and fun-filled day. I think the children were excited to be working with adults from outside school. From my perspective it was a fabulous opportunity as it gave me the chance to transfer my understanding from lectures in to a real classroom. I was also able to work with children outside the age range I am trained for, which broadened my horizons.”

Rachel Cartwright, Computing Coordinator at Oldbury Park, was pleased with the results of the partnership. “I was planning to hold a Computing Week in school, and after hearing Andrea speak at a TeachMeet at The Hive, I contacted her to see if we could work together,” she said. “The children really enjoyed the activities they worked on with the students. The children were able to access state-of-the-art facilities at the University that we do not have in school, and the students’ knowledge of the latest computer science resources was very beneficial for our learners.”

“With the support of the students we were also able to have a much higher ratio of adults to children than we ever have in school, which really helped the children explore the topics in more detail,” Rachel added.

Some of the children who engaged in the project were also keynote speakers at the TeachMeet at The Hive in June, sharing some of their animations and their thoughts on what they gained from the whole experience.